The soft terry knit surface of Ullfrotté Original can easily be worn on warm skin to maximize body heat retention, while simultaneously helping to wick perspiration away from the skin.
Merino wool is known as a very fine, soft and crimpy wool and is perfect for garments worn next to the skin.
MERINO SHEEP Today there are about a billion sheep all around the world, divided into more than 200 breeds. The largest producing regions are in Australia, New Zealand and South America, and the most common breeds are Lincoln and Merino. Merino sheep produce exceptionally fine and crimpy wool.
Merino sheep have their origins in North Africa, and probably came to Spain at the end of the 12th century. The trade in this soft and fine wool was significant for Spain, a country which controlled the wool market for centuries, and which for a long time banned the export of Merino sheep. The breed was named Merino in the 15th century after the royal sheep inspectors ‘los Merinos’.
OPTIMAL INSULATION The wool fiber’s crimped structure traps large quantities of air and provides good heat insulation. Air between the fibers reduces the heat conduction within the material, and therefore has an insulating effect against both heat and cold.
Merino wool can have up to 40 crimps per centimeter, which provides a high degree of insulation. The crimps in the fibers also mean that there are fewer contact points between the material and the skin, another benefit when it comes to trapping air.
WOOL WARMS EVEN WHEN MOIST During increased activity level or temperature, the body generates perspiration to cool down, thereby raising the moisture level. Wool is hydrophobic, or able to absorb moisture from the air, and so can absorb moisture vapor from the body.
Wool can absorb both between the fibers and inside of them, so it feels dry against the skin even when moist. Wool fibers can absorb up to 30% of their dry weight without feeling damp.
Wool also creates warmth when moist. When moisture is absorbed, it is an exothmeric process – so-called ”absorption heat”. Heat evergy is released when water molecules and the fiber’s molecule groups, which have the opposite polarity, collide. The force of the collision is so intense that heat is created. The process continues until the fiber is saturated with water molecules.
WOOL WICKS AWAY MOISTURE When humidity is higher inside the wool garment than outside, the wool works hard to absorb the moisture and transport it through the material until a balance is reached. Since moisture is transported to the outside of the garment, heat insulation increases and you stay dry.
WOOL IS EASY TO CARE FOR AND SELF-CLEANING Wool is self cleaning and does not smell. The creatine in the wool naturally breaks down bad smelling bacteria from the skin.
The core of the wool fiber consists of two types of cells that absorb different quantities of moisture. As a result, one type swells more than the other and they move in constant friction. This gives the wool fiber a mechanical, self-cleaning effect.
Moisture on the surface of a textile promotes the growth of bacteria, but the outside of the wool fiber stays relatively dry. The surface of the fiber is water repellent, which prevents bacteria growth and its consequent bad smell.
Wool garments do not need frequent washing, but rather can be aired out in humid weather with good results. The water vapor passing through the garment will remove soil particles and odors.
TREATED WOOL CAN BE MACHINE WASHED The surface of the wool fiber is covered with small scales and as a result wool clothes can felt when washed. The scales can be eliminated with treatment and the wool material is then machine washable.
THE FINENESS OF THE WOOL FIBER IS DEFINED IN MICRONS The number of microns, i.e., the measurement of the wool fiber in thousandths of a millimeter, is used to indicate quality. Fine wool is between 17 and 23 microns. When wool is perceived as itchy, the reason is that there are coarse fibers in the wool, which do not yield to the skin but rather stick in. The finer the fibers, the softer the feel of the textiles. Coarse fibers in excess of 28 microns may itch.
Textile fiber materials have different origins and characteristics. Fibers are divided into natural fibers – which come from plants or animals, such as wool – and artificially produced synthetic fibers. Certain materials originate from nature but have been transformed to textile fibers. These are called regenerated fibers.
COTTON is a plant whose seeds are surrounded by fibers, 15–45 mm long, which can be spun into yarn. Cotton represents about 30% of the total consumption of fibers in the US and in Western Europe, and about 50% worldwide. Egyptian cotton is considered of superior quality since its fibers are longer than other types. The cotton industry is highly dependent on chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
The uneven surface and spiral form of the fibers means that cotton easily attracts soil and requires washing at high temperature. Cotton is a strong and resilient fiber that endures washing at high temperature, often with good color fastness, albeit with some shrinkage.
The capacity of cotton to insulate heat is poor, partly due to its low elasticity. Cotton yarns are compact and contain little air. Clothes made of cotton are soft and comfortable on the skin but the fiber absorbs a lot of moisture. This makes cotton a pleasant fiber on many occasions but un¬suitable for activities where you perspire a great deal.
FLAX is a stem fiber that can reach a height of up to 75 cm. It is extremely strong when pulled but brittle when broken. Linen clothes are cool and comfortable on the skin but easily wrinkled. Linen can be washed at up to 60 °C (140 °F) but should not be spin-dried since the fibers may break.
SILK is a glandular substance secreted by the silkworm as it spins a cocoon around itself. The cocoon can give up to 900 meters of filament fibers. The silk fiber is long and strong considering its fineness, but since the fiber is so thin it is perceived as brittle. Silk absorbs moisture well and feels comfortable on the skin but may be destroyed by salts, such as from perspiration.
Synthetic fibers are manufactured in an entirely chemical process using oil, coal, chalk, salt, water and chemicals mixed to a paste, which is then spun into fibers.
POLYAMIDE is a strong elasticized fiber with good abrasion resistance. It absorbs little moisture and is thus quick drying, with good crease-resistance and stability of shape. Polyamide is often called nylon, which is a trade name. Other well-known modified polyamide varieties are Kevlar®, Nomex® and Kermel®.
POLYESTER is a strong elasticized fiber with good abrasion resistance. It is heat resistant but can be heat proofed to retain its shape. It absorbs very little moisture but can also be made to transport moisture and perspiration. Garments of polyester are suitable when humidity control and/or good abrasion resistance is required.
ACRYLIC has been designed to resemble wool. It is a relatively weak and heat sensitive fiber which easily pills. The feeling is soft with very high light resistance.
ELASTANE – SPANDEX is used as a stretch yarn to complement other yarns. It is highly elastic – up to 700% – and it gives garments excellent shape stability, fit and stretch. It is also highly washable and withstands both heat and perspiration. A common trade name is Lycra®.
POLYPROPYLENE is a fiber with very low weight, poor elasticity but high strength. The fiber is used in garments meant to wick away moisture since it does not itself absorb.
VISCOSE (rayon) is a fiber made from cellulose harvested from spruce or other types of trees. The wood chips are dissolved with chemicals to a pulp, which is spun to fibers and regenerated. The fibers easily absorb moisture but are sensitive and weak when wet. Fabrics made of viscose are soft on the skin, hang gracefully and are easy to wash since the dirt comes off easily. The fabric is easily wrinkled and may be deformed whenever wet.
ACETATE is a chemical compound of cellulose and acetic acid. There is both acetate and triacetate, with different quantity of acetic acid added. Both fibers are stronger than viscose, shrink less when washed, but absorb less moisture and have reduced heat insulation capacity. The fabrics are used as linings in jackets and dresses.
MODACRYLIC is produced of the same raw materials and in a similar way as viscose but more closely resembles the cotton fiber. The fiber is stronger and more elastic. It is also called ‘man-made cotton’ since many of its characteristics resemble the look and features of cotton.
LYOCELL is produced of the same raw materials as viscose but uses less harmful chemicals. This is a relatively new fiber that can assume a wide array of characteristics and properties, from silky to cotton looks. The fiber is strong and washes well with minimal risk of shrinkage.